Though I’ve heard many sayings about law school, perhaps none capture the essence of the experience better than: “law school is a pie-eating contest where the reward for doing well is more pie.” At this point in my life, I’m fine with that. To keep with the metaphor, I like pie, and I haven’t been eating it long enough to be sick of it yet. With that being said, the contest is a marathon, not a sprint. For lack of a better way of putting it, we all still have a lot of pie left to eat, so we need to learn to get away from it for a while.
One of the things that best helped me cope with my new, pie-filled reality during my first semester at Green Hall was my willingness to walk out of the building and simply go do something else. Importantly, however, when I did go do something else, it wasn’t always with my fellow contest members. Many times, it was with people utterly disconnected with anything and everything related to law school. For me at least, getting away from Green, away from classmates, and away from the law was entirely necessary to see the work ahead of me with clear eyes.
I have the good fortune of going to law school where I went to undergrad, so the vast majority of my non-law school friends are still either students or have moved onto careers in the Kansas City area. At least once a week, I tried to see some of those folks and do something with them. Whether it was watching football, grabbing a bite to eat or just sitting on a couch talking about life, spending time with people who aren’t connected to the trials and tribulations of our program got my brain off work and stress. Even if you’re a Patrick Bateman type who can’t see the value of having a broader circle of friends and interests beyond your work and education, these reprieves from law school made it that much easier to focus and apply myself to my studies once I got home. In other words, even if your only goal in life is to win the pie eating contest, sometimes you still need to try some other foods.
Of course, my situation isn’t comparable to everyone else’s. Not everyone has non-law school friends in close proximity to them; not everyone recharges their batteries by spending time with others; and so on. The fact remains, however, that you need an escape from your work. If you know what that escape is, don’t abandon it just because you’re getting stressed about class, the job search or extracurriculars. If you don’t have that escape, whether it takes finding a new hobby, meeting some new people or something else entirely, now is the best time to find it.
— Griffin Albaugh is a 1L from Lawrence and a KU Law Student Ambassador.